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May 27, 2020 – The federal government should not legislate any ministerial “public interest” waiver for anti-competitive collaborations, according to a report from a C.D. Howe Institute council.

While government intervention in certain economic sectors may be warranted in the near term during the COVID-19 crisis, governments must be conscious of potential impacts on competition, and ensure competitors face the discipline and dynamism of market forces by outlining a clear exit plan for ramping-down support.

This is the consensus view of the C.D. Howe Institute’s Competition Policy Council, which held its nineteenth meeting on May 8, 2020.

Council members commended governments for taking an active role in economic management and providing direct support to sectors and specific companies during the crisis, agreeing that in the near-term, governments should prioritize households’ well-being and intervene if required to backstop companies with strategic or systemic importance to the Canadian economy. Council members also recognized that political decision-makers will face difficult decisions around the failure of major businesses and be forced to balance competing policy priorities going forward.

In particular, in the medium term as the global economy emerges from this crisis, vigorous competition will remain critical to the recovery and the long-run dynamism of Canada’s economy.

The Competition Policy Council comprises top-ranked academics and practitioners active in the field of competition policy. The Council provides analysis of emerging competition policy issues. Elisa Kearney, Partner, Competition and Foreign Investment Review and Litigation at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP, acts as interim co-chair, along with Grant Bishop, Associate Director, Research, at the C.D. Howe Institute. Professor Edward Iacobucci, Dean at the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and Competition Policy Scholar at the Institute, advises the program. The Council, whose members participate in their personal capacities, convenes a neutral forum to test competing visions and to share views on competition policy with practitioners, policymakers and the public.

For more information contact: Grant Bishop, Associate Director, Research; or David Blackwood, Communications Officer, C.D. Howe Institute, at 416-873-6168, email: dblackwood@cdhowe.org